Dr Nighat says aspirin can reduce risks of some cancers
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“Head and neck cancer is the one of the fastest-growing types of cancer,” said Dr Kubes. “And an early diagnosis can make a major difference to the chances of defeating it.” Dr Kubes added: “Some of the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for other common ailments.
“So it’s important to be aware of any changes to your body and address any concerns.”
One of the “lesser-known” symptoms to be aware of is a persistent sore throat.
Dr Kubes elaborated: “A persistent sore throat… lasts more than two weeks.”
Other symptoms of head and neck cancers are: sore gums, ulcers, and pain in your teeth.
There might also be “white or red patches in the mouth”, which Dr Kubes emphasised is a “tell-tale sign”.
“Another common early symptom is persistently blocked ears or persistent earache,” he added.
“And swelling in part of the neck, or some resistance when touching a part of the neck, could also be an indicator.”
Dr Kubes said such symptoms “do not necessarily need to be a cause for alarm”.
However, “it’s vital that if you suspect something is not right that you see your doctor”.
Each year, around 12,000 people in Britain are diagnosed with head and neck cancers, says Cancer Research UK.
Tumours in these regions are growing in prevalence thanks to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is often a symptomless infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states: “HPV can infect the mouth and throat and cause cancers of the oropharynx.”
This includes the back of the throat, in addition to the base of the tongue and tonsils.
The National Cancer Institute explained HPV “is a group of more than 200 related viruses”.
There are low-risk and high-risk HPV infections; low-risk HPV infections “cause no disease”.
There are 14 high-risk HPV types, with HPV16 and HPV18 being responsible for most HPV-related cancers.
“HPV infection passes easily between sexual partners,” the organisation noted.
“Nearly all sexually active people are infected with HPV within months to a few years of becoming sexually active.
“Around half of these infections are with a high-risk HPV type.”
Dr Jiri Kubes is the medical director of leading cancer treatment facility Proton Therapy Center.
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